Debunking Common Myths About Personal Injury Law

Debunking Common Myths About Personal Injury Law
Calendar icon February 16, 2024

The term “personal injury law” encompasses a vast range of cases, from vehicle accidents to medical malpractice, yet it is surrounded by myths that can confuse those who may be affected. When you are dealing with an injury caused by another party’s negligence, understanding the facts can empower you to assert your rights effectively. 

Myth 1: Filing a Personal Injury Claim is Always a Lengthy Process

A common misconception is that all personal injury claims drag on for years. The truth is that the duration of a personal injury case can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. These can include the complexity of the case, the willingness of  one or both parties to settle, the efficiency of the legal team, and the court’s schedule if the case goes to trial. 

About 95% of personal injury cases are settled out of court, which makes the claim process far less lengthy than the experience for those whose cases go to trial. In any event, while some cases can indeed take longer, particularly those involving serious injuries or complex legal issues, a skilled attorney can help navigate the process and avoid unnecessary delays.

Myth 2: You Can Easily Handle Your Personal Injury Case Without An Attorney

Some believe they can handle personal injury claims on their own to save money. And while that is absolutely an option, handling the many facets of  a personal injury claim to be challenging, and a personal injury attorney can help ensure that any offer for settlement is appropriate for the injuries involved. 

Personal injury attorneys are not only knowledgeable in the applicable laws but also skilled in negotiation, which is pivotal in ensuring you receive the appropriate compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies often take advantage of unrepresented claimants by offering lowball offers in hopes for a quick settlement, so having an attorney by your side can be a substantial asset in securing maximum compensation.

Myth 3: You must Be Visibly Injured to File a Claim

While many portrayals of personal injury claimants show people with broken bones, burns, or visible scars, that’s not always the case. Some of the most serious injuries are invisible to the eye, including traumatic brain injuries, emotional distress, and chronic pain. Moreover, some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, may not manifest symptoms until days or weeks after an accident.

In any instance, it’s important to see a medical professional after an incident and consult with an attorney to understand your rights.

Myth 4: Personal Injury Claims Always End in Massive Settlements

Television and movies can portray personal injury cases resulting in huge settlements or judgments. In reality, settlements are typically related to the extent of the injuries, losses, and the amount of coverage available to claim. No matter the injuries, an attorney can help maximize the possible recovery by researching cases with similar liability issues and injuries.

The damages that an injury victim may be able to claim during a personal injury case include compensatory damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other punitive damages awarded by a jury. 

Myth 5: You Have Ample Time to File a Lawsuit After an Injury

Many may assume that there’s no rush when it comes to filing a personal injury claim. However, every state has statutes of limitations that set time limits on how long you have to file a lawsuit after an injury occurs. The applicable statute of limitations will depend on the nature of your claim and the identity of the defendant/at-fault party. If you miss this window, you lose your right to sue. Knowing the relevant deadlines is paramount, which is why consulting with an attorney promptly after your injury can safeguard your right to compensation. In New York State, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is typically 3 years from the date of the accident, but shorter deadlines apply under certain circumstances. 

For example, the statute of limitations is shorter–only 2 years–from the date of death in wrongful death claims. Likewise, certain public defendants like municipalities must be sued within one year and 90 days (and need to be put on notice of the claim in the first 90 days after the incident). In addition, if you’re filing a no-fault claim, you only have 30 days from the date of your accident to claim those benefits from your insurance policy.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

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